Matt Thompson is a guest blogger this week. Matt joined Clarity Coverdale Fury in January as a New Business Development intern. Matt has an interest in Conscious Consumers stemming from a passion for collaboration within the local community and working to create positive change.
Over the past couple of years I’ve spent more and more time getting around on two wheels, rather than four. My interest in biking started as a simple enjoyment of the outdoors, and has turned into somewhat of an obsession with both the sport and culture. This Spring I stumbled across an initiative called 30 Days of Biking, and quickly took a pledge to ride a bike once a day, everyday, for the entire month of April.
Here’s what I learned over the course of the month:
Consistently riding a bike, instead of driving a car, can have a big impact on your wallet.
Biking everyday, especially during the week, is very cost effective. The distance between my house and CCF is about 17 miles. If I drive my car everyday of the week I have to pay for parking as well as the gas to get to and from work. If parking in downtown Minneapolis costs about $6, I saved $132 over the course of the month. Additionally, not driving my car saved me approximately $80 on gas – assuming I fill up about every two weeks. Put those together and I saved over $200 in monthly expenses. Now imagine if I biked everyday, all year long; over $2,500 would stay in my bank account over the course of the year. That’s serious money, especially for a young adult just starting a career. The notion of biking all year long isn’t so farfetched either; there are plenty of “Yearounders” here in Minnesota.
A better way to take in the surroundings
I gained a much greater knowledge of the local Minneapolis and St. Paul community. When you ride your bike, it’s likely that you’ll be taking a slightly, if not greatly, different path than if you were driving. Since I currently live in Plymouth, a suburb of Minneapolis, my commute in a car involves a straight shot into downtown via Highway 394. By contrast, when I commute by bike I weave through the surrounding areas of the city, allowing me to see new shops, restaurants and parks that I would otherwise fly past on the highway. Even on the roads and areas I am familiar with, there’s always the chance to notice the nuances when I’m pedaling along at 15 mph as opposed to 45 mph.
Meaningful connections with like-minded people
The 30 Days of Biking initiative made me feel like I was really in-tune with a unique and growing global community. 30 Days of Biking started in 2009 by two Minneapolis guys, Zachariah Schaap and Patrick Stephenson, and the initiative has been growing exponentially ever since. This year, 6974 people from all over the world officially took the pledge. I saw the blue 30 Days of Biking stickers all over the cities. I was able to interact with people across the globe on Twitter about our shared experience. I knew that no matter how bad the weather here in Minnesota was, I would have a community of cyclists committed to getting on the saddle each and every day.
30 Days of Biking is just one example of how bike culture is having a positive impact on people’s lives. Just a few weeks ago, Kathy wrote about how bike commuters across the nation have increased by 60%. That change is evident here in the Twin Cities, where there are plans to reconstruct the busy Washington Avenue downtown with protected bike lanes, building a North Minneapolis Greenway, and festivals like Open Streets throughout the summer. While this post is mainly about my personal experience, I’m just one example of a growing community of people across the nation that are making conscious decisions to change parts of their lifestyle to be more healthy, cost effective, and deepen the relationship with their local communities.